Howdy y’all and welcome back. Today, the movie on the old reviewing chopping block is the newest Star Wars film, THE LAST JEDI!!!! Unfortunately, I am in a similar dilemma to reviewing Justice League as I feel like the time to properly review this film has come and gone. Some people absolutely adore this movie and are praising director and writer Rian Johnson for making the best Star Wars film since Empire Strikes Back. On the polar opposite hand, other people are saying this is hands down the worst movie (hard stop) ever made and Disney is brutally murdering our childhood. Obviously the real answer is somewhere in between those two schools of thought but where exactly does it land? Is it bad? Is it good? Are the Porgs just too much to handle? To solve all these pointless questions, I’ve decided to “review” the Last Jedi by ranking all the Star Wars films (which is what I did for Dunkirk back when that came out in July). So without any further pomp and circumstance, I present to you the definitive Fridge Logic Star Wars Ranking Special!
#9- Episode II: Attack of the Clones-Holding the spot in the very sad caboose of the Star Wars train is Attack of the Clones and for good reason. Simply put. It’s a hot mess. Not only is this film all over the place in terms of writing, acting, and effects, it also does its best to soil some of the foundations of the original trilogy. In a New Hope, Obi Wan tells Luke that he and Anakin were good friends and in this film, it looks like they not only hate each other but don’t even respect one another. In Empire, we see Boba Fett as this cool mysterious bounty hunter who looks like he could take the galaxy in a heart beat, and instead of leaving his character to further mystery, George Herbert Walker Lucas demotes Boba to a child that’s only good for memes. There are some fun moments in the film but you have to suffer through boring at best parts and super cringe-worthy at worst parts to get there. In terms of movies alone, this is Star Wars at its worst.
#8- Episode III-Revenge of the Sith-Like Attack of the Clones, this movie suffers from trying to do too much in too little a time. The movie starts out well enough with Anakin and Obi Wan going to rescue the Chancellor, but from there devolves into (what feels like) a thousand stories that on their own could fill a full feature length movie. Obi Wan goes under cover to infiltrate a CIS base and take down its commander. Anakin deals with the pull of the Dark Side of the Force as he gets closer to Chancellor Palpatine. Yoda goes to the Wookie home world to save their planet from the droids. Nick Furry struggles to trust Anakin as he prepares to take down the Sith. Any of these ideas could stand on their own but instead are compressed into one or two scenes that only serve to move the plot to Padme dying and Anakin officially becoming Darth Vader. This movie is significantly better than Attack of the Clones and I enjoy watching this film. However, it is far from being anywhere near the original trilogy.
#7- Episode I: The Phantom Menace- Now I’ve seen quite a few people ranking the Star Wars films over the past couple of days and I am shocked to see people ranking Phantom Menace as the worst in the series. That. Is. Complete. Nonsense. Phantom Menace is the hands down best prequel. Hard stop. No questions asked. Is the plot and writing nonsense? Yes. Does it talk about politics way too much? Yes. Is Jar Jar the worst thing to happen to cinema since Caddyshack 2? Hell Yes. But even knowing all that, this movie is far more palatable than anything in Episodes II and III. The best piece of evidence is that the story is pretty simple: Jedi go to Naboo, Jedi save Queen from Naboo, they all stop at Tatooine to refuel, they all then go to the capital to plead their case, and then they all return to Naboo to save the day. While there is more to it than that, the basic plot flowchart follows that and is not dependent on sending every and any “important” character to every corner of the galaxy to do one thing to get them to the finale. If you really think Revenge of the Sith and Attack of the Clones are better that Phantom Menace, you can go right along and think that. You’re wrong, but go for it.
#6- Rogue One- This one kinda upsets me because I really like Rogue One. Since it came out a year ago, I’ve seen it six times and for good reason; I just feel giddy every time it comes on. This movie (especially the last hour or so) is just pure fan service. Plain and simple. From the space battle over Scarif, to that Vader scene, to everything that comes out of K2-SO’s mouth. It’s all great, yet that’s the problem. This movie is in a lot of ways only fan service. It’s all desert with no main course. Now that’s fine. Not every movie needs to be ground breaking. Just look at the MCU movies. None of those movies are good (in the Oscar worthy way) but they are all fun to watch. Rogue One is perfect just how it is and watching it and a New Hope back to back is an amazing experience. But. In terms of ranking and which films are great and which ones are not, Rogue One falls just short of average.
#5- Episode VII: The Force Awakens- This movie is similar to Rogue One in a lot of ways. It is a lot of fan service and it is not trying to reinvent the wheel (hence the rehashing of a New Hope’s plot line), yet J.J. Abrams does a much better job of giving the audience, both the casual and die hard fans, something to think about. It raises questions but doesn’t harbor on them. It teases a question for you to think about later while moving on to the next important revelation. On top of it, this movie did more for Star Wars than any previous film since the release of Return of the Jedi. The zeitgeist behind this film was simply incredible as it was once again cool to be Star Wars fan. Not just a causal fan but a real fan who wants to swing a broom around and pretend it’s a lightsaber for a split second and for that, all fans should be grateful. Yes this film doesn’t break new ground but that is not the point of the film. While it will not be considered one of the best films in the franchise, it is a solid film that will always be a favorite of mine, and (for now) deserves it’s spot in the top 5.
#4- Episode VI: Return of the Jedi- I have never been a huge fan of this movie. I always felt like this film drags its feet for the first hour of the film. Sure, all the stuff at Jabba’s palace is cool to watch after seeing Empire for the first time or two, but after seeing it a few times, you kind of just want the film to jump to the good stuff. It’s similar to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Yeah sure it’s cool and whatnot but while you’re watching Short Round you keep thinking “shouldn’t Indy be saving precious relics from the Nazis.” However. Once they escape Tatooine and the Emperor shows up, it jumps into lightspeed and doesn’t stop. Flipping between Han and Leia fighting on Endor to Lando in the Falcon to Luke fighting Vader to the Rebel and Imperial space battle. It is Star Wars at its finest. Sure the first hour can be slow but the ending is worth every moment.
#3- Episode VIII: The Last Jedi- Ok. Time to piss some people off. (Sorry Andrew) I’ve seen this one twice since it come out and I’ll come right out and say it. This is the best Star Wars film since the Empire Strikes Back. No questions asked…..well maybe a few questions asked. Ok some big questions to ask. To start, I believe all the problems with this film come from the writing. At times, it feels like no one edited (or even questioned) Rian Johnson’s script. There are some massive plot holes that could have been excused with a line of dialogue here and there and flat out could have been fixed if someone purposed making the story more streamlined. Admiral Purple Haired Feminist is a comically stupid character in my opinion, and Rose, one of the new characters that everyone is swooning over, is almost as cringy as the Padme/Anakin love affair from Attack of the Clones. Now. All that being said, you might be wondering why I’d rank this film so high. Well the reason is simple. Take out Rose and Admiral Feminist and this is the greatest Star Wars movie ever…or damn close to it. This has some amazing moments that I’m still fanboy-ing about, including one of the coolest moments I’ve ever seen in a movie. I know people have problems with some of the choices and directions that Rian Johnson takes the series but I believe that once you see it a second time and think carefully about those decisions, you’ll (hopefully) understand how great it really is. I know people have problems with this movie and that’s fine, however here is my opinion; this movie is 30 minutes away from being something monumentally special and as it stands, it is one of the best movies in this series.
#2- Episode IV: A New Hope- What can you say about this film? It’s the movie that kicked off everything. Not only is it the common denominator of my childhood but it was also part of a change that ushered in the way films would be shot moving into the 1980s. What makes it truly special and amazing is that it almost never came to be. The journey George Lucas took to bring this film to the screen is awe inspiring. It is a perfect example of believing in yourself no matter what and proof that if something is good, it will get made and will be found. Everything, from the story to the music to the effects to the aliens, is perfect. In many ways this is the perfect science fiction movie and one that few films can stand up to. Speaking of which.
#1- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back- This is not only the best Star Wars film, it is also one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, one of the greatest movies of all time, and in my opinion the best sequel ever made (ok maybe Godfather Part II beats it but that is a very tight race). George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, and Lawrence Kasdan take the original film and improve on it in every way. The Battle of Hoth is action packed and pure excitement. The Falcon chase is still nerve racking on the 100th rewatch of the film. Yoda teaching Luke continues to teach lessons that you can’t find in most schools. Luke and Vader are perfect foils for each other. And the music. Oh man the music. It just makes me cry. No seriously. It makes me tear up. I often find myself at a loss when trying to think of my favorite movie of all time when the answer is right in front of my nose. Not only is this film fun and breathtaking, it is a masterclass in cinema and a classic. There will never be a Star Wars film that is better than Empire. Disney and J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson can strive to be better than Empire all they want but they will never succeed and that’s not a bad thing. It is not because they cannot make a good or even great Star Wars movie (because they already have…see point #3 and #5). It’s just because Empire is just on another level. Thank god for George Lucas. Thank good for Star Wars. And thank god for the Empire Strikes Back.
Well there you have it folks. To sum up my thoughts on the Last Jedi, that is an almost perfect film with some surprisingly awful writing. I gave film an 8.8 and if you break it out it looks like this:
Yeah. I’m not kidding when I say this film would be a thousand times better if the story was cleaner and I think cleaner is the best way to describe it without spoiling it. I think everyone should go see it and decide for yourself but I think one thing everyone can agree on is that if Rian Johnson had cleaned/edited/streamlined the story a bit, this movie would have been much better. Maybe not as good as I think it would be but better nonetheless. That being said, I am still happy with the end result and cannot wait to see it again!
Thanks for tuning in. If you took time to read this, I appreciate you so much. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Happy New Year. And I will be back with the Worst, Most Disappointing, and Best Movies of 2017!